1. I retired at 30 and have been at it for almost 5 years now. I live a pretty low-key, lazy life that would probably drive a lot of people crazy from boredom, but I often find myself wishing I could live this way for eternity and it’s a shame life is so short.
Mornings are when I have the most energy and feel like doing things so I take advantage and spend an hour or so on chores like cleaning up, fixing stuff, opening the mail. Then I shower, get dressed and run some errands, usually on my bike. If I’m going out I’ll call up some friends and see if anyone wants to grab some coffee or have lunch or just see what they’re up to. If I have no errands to do I might just go for a 10-50 mile bike ride to the beach, or down some roads I haven’t seen before or in a while. Or grab a cigar and go for a long walk. Usually I’ll stop on a bench somewhere with my tablet and read/surf/call someone. I have one friend who’s the maintenance guy at a local club so I’ll stop by there around noon-time once a week for some billiards with him.
By the early-afternoon I’m usually back home and I’m pretty much a couch potato after that point. I play video games, read, watch movies/tv, see what my cat’s up to, take a break to cook up a good dinner and that’s about that.
Just about every weekend friends come over (or I go to their place) on Friday to start gaming and don’t leave until Saturday or Sunday.
Usually at least one day a week is a special day where I break out of my routine and do something that takes the entire day, like climb a mountain, take a drive to the nearest big city and hang out there for the day, go to the beach, go to a museum, theater, amusement park…
I think a big part of this is about getting into the right mindset more than anything. For me, there’s no grand project. Or big goals. Just enjoying the day to day as much as possible.
2. I retired over a year ago – at 41. I’ve been through the boredom. It’s almost like there’s too much choice and it’s paralyzing. Then I started volunteering. It was okay, but didn’t give me that boost I wanted. I still volunteer one day a week but it’s become more of a chore than anything. Then I tried creating things – mostly writing. I’m a competent writer, but it was a major ego bruise to generate stuff that sucked. At least in my opinion. Then I went through a period where I stopped trying. For some weeks I’d tell myself I didn’t need to rush it, that it was my job to keep my mind open for the universe to send me inspiration. That didn’t last long. I realized I was totally addicted to the internet. Like, while on the toilet, stopped at a traffic light, reddit over coffee, reddit til noon, other forums, other sites, etc. mint.com, yahoo finance, portfolio management.
Then I started a habit at night: I’d scope out the next day – down to the half hour. What I wanted to do: exercise, yoga, write for 3 hours, read a particular book.
What I found was that when I formally planned my day, it took away the overwhelming decision fatigue of having no plans and infinite options.
I still slip back into internet addiction (here I am!) but I’ve finished my writing and exercise and reading for the day. I feel better being online having accomplished things that give me personal fulfillment.
Anyway, that’s been my experience. Take from it what you will.
3. I retired at 47. I don’t have a lot of money but just enough to live a comfortable middle class lifestyle. I can’t afford a new Ferrari or an S-class Benz but my Corolla does just fine taking me to the golf course and back.
It is great to retire early if you have something to look forward to. You can travel or do a lot of the things you’ve always wanted to do, but such activities typically last a year or two. What will you do after that? (As Gujarati people say, “Pachhi su?”, meaning what comes next.)
But if don’t you have something to look forward to, retirement can be hellish. If you are the man of the house and are home all the time with nothing to do, it is a great way of having a fight every day with your wife eventually leading to divorce. Many people go into depression. And if you have lots of spare cash, it is all too easy to get into gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc. You can easily ruin your life that way and die young. Too much money can be a curse in such situations.
As for me, I love teaching. I have been teaching at universities and mentoring startups throughout my career but since my retirement it has become a greater part of my life. I have been an avid golfer for 28 years and now I am trying to obtain the certification required to become a teaching professional. So far, I have avoided fighting with my wife every day 🙂 or overindulgence in alcohol. I never tried any other vices and so it has not been all that hard to avoid them.